Thursday, Apr. 18, 2024

Phillips Wins It Again At The Hampton Classic

Addison Phillips answers all the questions to come out on top of the equitation classic.

With fall indoor equitation finals just around the corner, some equitation riders used the Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship at the Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton, N.Y., Aug. 26-Sept. 2, to hone their skills.

This year’s victor, Addison Phillips, 18, hopes that her victory portends a smooth ride to the top of the upcoming national equitation championships. She had also won the Hampton Classic’s equitation championship in 2004.
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Addison Phillips answers all the questions to come out on top of the equitation classic.

With fall indoor equitation finals just around the corner, some equitation riders used the Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship at the Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton, N.Y., Aug. 26-Sept. 2, to hone their skills.

This year’s victor, Addison Phillips, 18, hopes that her victory portends a smooth ride to the top of the upcoming national equitation championships. She had also won the Hampton Classic’s equitation championship in 2004.

Phillips, of New York, N.Y., will also leave her name on the Gordon Wright Trophy, awarded to the leading junior equitation rider. She capped the weekend when she and Trezebees finished an impressive 10th in the $150,000 FTI Grand Prix.

Judges Karen Healey and Chrystine Tauber relished the opportunity to watch 44 top junior riders eager to squeeze in one last tough class at the end of the season. The judges noted that both Phillips and runner-up Kimberly McCormack were a cut above the rest of the crowd.

“Both girls at the top were really stellar,” said Tauber as Healey nodded in agreement. “But Addison was totally slick. The level of competition at the top is just extraordinary.”

The natural obstacles on the arduous 3’9″ course tripped up many riders in the first round, with the difficult bank combination and open water obstacle causing more than a few problems. When the top 10 riders returned to the grand prix field for the second round of competition two days later, nearly all the remaining riders put in performances worthy of a championship competition.

“It was definitely a challenging course,” said Phillips. “It came down to having a good horse and knowing how to ride it.”

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Phillips and her partner, her long-time junior jumper Flight, have cer-tainly had time to cement their partnership. The pair has been winning junior jumper classes at the Hampton Classic since 2003.

This was the fourth year in a row that Andre Dignelli earned the Wölffer Estate trainer award for coaching the winner of the class. He credits his students’ success to proper preparation. “We have all the natural jumps at home, so my students get to practice riding banks and water jumps a lot,” he explained. “You really have to come prepared if you want to do well in this class.”

A Top Notch Performance

Schaefer Raposa had a tremendous week in the pony ring, topping the pony hunter classic aboard Top Notch, and guiding RosMel’s Uncontested to the grand pony and medium pony championships in his debut in the regular division.

Between her two mounts, both still in their green years, the 13-year-old won all four over fences classes in the medium division. She also won a class in the small division aboard RosMel’s Millennium, who was ninth in the classic.

Robin Greenwood of Grand Central Inc. owns all three ponies. She knew that RosMel’s Uncontested was special when she first laid eyes on him as a weanling at the RosMel ranch in Texas.

“I saw him and Millennium and fell in love with them, but they wanted to keep them because they were so nice,” recalled Greenwood. “I came home and told my husband, and showed him pictures, and then he bought them for me for Christmas.”

Uncontested spent most of the season winning in the children’s and green pony divisions with Madeline Stein. Though the Hampton Classic was his first show in the regulars, and his first with Raposa, it didn’t stop them from winning three over fences classes and earning the grand pony championship.

Greenwood acquired Top Notch as a baby from Virginia-based Oliver Brown, and she still calls him after every horse show to keep him up to date on the mare’s progress. Though she started this season in the green ponies, the black mare was such a quick study that Greenwood decided to move her up to the
regular division mid-season. The pony took home the championship ribbon at her medium pony debut at HITS-On-The-Hudson (N.Y.) in March.

She first tapped the talented Raposa to pilot her sale ponies two years ago. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the country her age who rides better than she does,” raved Greenwood. “She’s a natural talent and a horsewoman through and through.”

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“She’s really fun,” said Raposa of Top Notch. “She has such a huge stride, so you never have to worry about getting down the lines. And even though she’s only 6, she’s very brave. She’s never spooky or sticky at the fences.”

Taking Away The Blues

While his fellow Rollins College (Fla.) freshmen began their academic year by getting their bearings or enjoying the campus social scene, Cortie Wetherill barely dropped off his luggage before heading to the Hampton Classic.

“I only went to one class then I came here,” admitted Wetherill with a grin. “But it’s worth the hassle. The Hampton Classic is my favorite show.”

Wetherill made his trip to Long Island count, winning the Hermès Hunter Classic aboard Take Away, as well as the grand junior hunter and large junior, 16-17, championships.

After the first round in the classic, Wetherill and Take Away sat in second behind Westcliffe and Tatiana Dzavik. But a bold hand-gallop to the last oxer of the course helped boost the scopey gelding into the top spot ahead of Westcliffe.

The 12-year-old Oldenberg has been a force to reckon with in the large junior, 16-17, division since he and Wetherill first paired up two years ago. Their success in the Hamptons follows championships this season at Devon (Pa.), St. Clements (N.Y.), Lake Placid (N.Y.) and the Vermont Summer Special.

Wetherill made his presence known in the equitation ring as well, finishing second in the PHA medal, fifth in the USET Talent Search Medal and eighth in the WIHS classic. He hopes to be able to sneak away from Rollins to squeeze in a few more practice sessions with his trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan, before contesting the fall indoor shows.

Mollie Bailey

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